You’re engaged and planning your wedding — what a wonderful time in your lives! Most couples want to incorporate traditions and classic themes to their event while creating personal touches that make the wedding truly theirs. For better or best, three local couples married this year share their wedding tales.
(Brooke is formerly from Evansville and Edan is from Collegeville, Pa.)
Married Sept. 15, 2012, at Brooke’s father’s home where she grew up on the North Side of Evansville. (The home was featured in the story, “French Country in the City” in the inaugural March/April 2000 issue of Evansville Living.) Their reception was at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden.
Brooke and Edan met on Sept. 11, 2009, through eHarmony, an online dating site that has helped millions of couples find love. “Since we have different career interests,” says Brooke, a graduate student at Southern Illinois University, “I don’t think our lives would have crossed without eHarmony, so I’m thankful for that vehicle.” Although she can’t remember exactly when she knew she wanted to marry him, Brooke does know it was before Edan, a senior news anchor at WSIL-TV in southern Illinois, knew he wanted to marry her. “He’s very cautious with big decisions, and I didn’t want to rush him or pressure him so I just waited until he caught up with me,” she says. “That patience seems to have paid off.”
The outdoor ceremony was non-denominational, the couple describes, and more spiritual than religious. “The vows were fairly traditional,” says Brooke, “but we included some special touches, including the warming of the rings by friends and family, and the binding of the bride and groom’s hands by the bridal party and parents — we literally tied the knot. We were also fortunate that a family friend, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, officiated the ceremony.” Another unique element of the ceremony was the surprise appearance of a bagpiper, whom Brooke’s father arranged to emerge from the woods as the final blessing was read. “The bagpiper simply walked past the site of the ceremony and kept going off into the distance, like a ghost or an illusion,” says Brooke. “We never got a chance to meet the man or thank him – it was quite a memorable moment.” At the reception, vampire teeth were distributed to everyone as the True Blood theme song played. That was a surprise that Brooke planned, as Edan had no idea about it.
Most Memorable Moment
For Edan, one of his favorite moments was seeing Brooke for the first time. “It was emotional and wonderful,” he says. “She looked so stunningly beautiful.” For Brooke, her moment was before the ceremony started, when her mom came into her room to tell her Edan and his groomsmen had arrived. “I just felt this sense of being whole knowing that my groom was nearby, on time, and ready to marry me,” she says. “Don’t get me wrong: I never doubted that he would show up! But it was just great knowing the moment when he arrived.”
Advice to Engaged Couples
“It’s your day, do what you want,” says Edan. “Do not feel like your wedding has to be bigger or more extravagant to be better. Try to keep it simple. Focus on making the day a true celebration of your love and your life together. It’s your relationship, your friends and family that count. The size or style or pageantry of your wedding is secondary.” Agreeing with her husband, Brooke adds, “It pays to be organized, but not too set in stone. Even if all your plans fall through, you’ll still be married at the end of the day. And that’s worth celebrating.”
(Janet grew up in Poseyville, Ind., and Scott grew up in Batesville, Ind.)
Married June 16, 2012, at the University of Evansville Neu Chapel, followed by a reception at Sweetwater Event Center
Although it took several attempts from friends to introduce the couple, Janet, senior vice president of diversity and work life at Old National Bank and president of the Old National Bank Foundation, and Scott, who is self-employed, finally agreed to meet each other two years ago. They both were widowed, and were reluctant to jump into a relationship. “Both of us were very hesitant as we had been happily married previously,” says Janet. “After persistent urging, we met for dinner at the former Firefly Restaurant in June 2009. After several weeks of dating, we realized our relationship was more than a casual friendship and that we were falling in love.” Two years later, Scott proposed to Janet on her birthday with her mother and two sons present.
Janet, a Catholic, and Scott, a Protestant, wanted a ceremony that brought unity to their marriage vows. “Neu Chapel was the perfect setting for us to celebrate our similarities in faith,” says Janet. “We were blessed to have my brother, Rev. Eugene Schmitt, and one of Scott’s close friends, Pastor Tyrone Edwards, preside over the ceremony.” When it came to the guest list, the couple decided to keep the wedding small. “Everyone we invited had touched our lives in a very personal way,” adds Janet. “One way to express our gratitude was to personally greet every guest as they entered Neu Chapel.” Their children were also involved in the ceremony. Janet’s sons, Luke and Nick, escorted her down the aisle, and Scott’s son, Justin, was the best man. Scott’s daughter, Erica, and son-in-law, Greg, were also both in the wedding. As a symbol of love and respect, all of the children lit candles before the ceremony to honor the memory of their deceased parents.
A Memorable Moment
For Scott, watching his bride being escorted down the aisle by her two sons and seeing the look of sheer joy and happiness on her face was the most important moment of the day. It also warmed his heart to have the support of his deceased wife’s sorority sisters, their husbands, and longtime friends, who all were present. For Janet, one of her favorite parts was the personal message that Pastor Tyrone delivered and the special prayers that Father Eugene offered. Like Scott, Janet also had the support from past colleagues and friends of her deceased husband, as well as her previous in-laws.
Advice for Engaged Couples
“Keep your celebration very simple and add personal touches that are important to the two of you,” the couple says. “Plan in advance and do a little each week so you can enjoy your special day. Don’t second guess your instinct on ideas to make your day special, and always ask the question, ‘What is best for this marriage?’”
Married Nov. 9, 2012, at the Old Post Office Event Center in Downtown Evansville
Working several years together at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Angie, now a CRNA at a new surgery center in Jasper, Ind., and Brett, who is now an orthopaedic surgeon with Tri-State Orthopaedics, had their first date two years ago after persistent friends set them up. “I knew that we would get married and have a family by our third date,” Angie says. “I called my mom afterward and said, ‘This is the man who is going to be your grandbaby’s father!’ I was very certain of it. And he was, too.”
Married on a Friday evening inside the Old Post Office Event Center, Angie and Brett wanted everything to fit their personal styles. “It was a religious ceremony, but it wasn’t traditional by any means,” says Angie. “Our very good friend from Cleveland married us, which was very special. Between the three of us we completely made up the ceremony.” It was a collaborative effort to decide what kind of music they wanted, what kind of ceremony they wanted, and what special things they wanted present, such as a poem written by the matron of honor and a special blessing at the end. “My mother-in-law was a tremendous part of the reception, the decorating, and everything else,” adds Angie. “It looked like a little fairy tale without being too big.”
A Memorable Moment
Three weeks after the wedding, Angie’s father passed away very unexpectedly. “That really put a different spin on things,” she says. “We had a wonderful night, and it just became more meaningful because of that — because he was there and he had such a great time.” Specific moments stand out to her: “I remember walking down the aisle with my dad and looking at Brett and being thankful that I was marrying somebody that was the same way as he was.” And then came the father-daughter dance to “What a Wonderful World.” “It was perfect,” she says. “It’s a wonderful memory that I’ll always have. He loved that song.”
Advice for Engaged Couples
“Have a really awesome mother-in-law who can plan everything for you,” Angie says laughing. “I’m not very good at that, so if people need help in that department, get somebody who knows what they’re doing because that was extremely helpful. It takes the stress off so you can really enjoy the night.”